Getting an accurate custom software quote is critical for a successful software project. It avoids a scenario where a custom software project overruns its budget. To get an accurate quote that factors all aspects of a custom software development service, the following suggestions could help:
1. Bring Relevant Materials to Demonstrate What You Want
Your first meeting with a custom software vendor should discuss what you are looking to achieve with the proposed project. Ideally, you should bring a list of features and requirements, wireframes, mockups, and other relevant material that shed light on what kind of software you want to develop. Should you not have a crystallized idea of what kind of software you want, your solution provider should be able to guide you in translating your business objectives or the focus or vision of your product into a framework for custom software for your company.
Although this is a time-consuming process, which is conducted during the discovery stage, it’s worth every cent you will pay your solutions provider. You can, however, save yourself time and money by bringing materials that detail exactly (or even roughly) what kind of custom software you are looking for.
2. Get the Decision Makers on Board
Having on board someone authorized to make binding decisions is important. Chances are that your software solution provider has a backlog of pending projects. To avoid delays and get the most out of your meetings with a solutions provider, make sure you have someone with you who can approve the project budget.
Depending on your circumstances, your solutions provider may also recommend some cost-value trade-offs that will need to be approved by someone with the authority to make such decisions.
3. Be Clear about your Budgetary and Timeline Expectations
You need to establish early on whether the custom software quote is within your budget and timeline. Your goal should be to have a custom software delivered on budget and on time. To do this, you have to first establish the custom software’s value proposition and then decide whether you have a budget for it.
If the budget and timeline considerations are stringent, you can settle for some reasonable trade-offs as long as these objectives are met.
4. Developing the Custom Software in Phases
Although your proposed software reflects your vision as to what you ultimately want to achieve with it, you could have it developed in phases. Your custom software quote should, therefore, indicate exactly how much each phase would cost.
Each of these phases should result in a subset of the software that can stand alone and be immediately implemented and credible value accrued from it. This can greatly lower the initial cost while at the same time reduce the overall project risk.
5. Be an Active Participant
There should be constant communication among all project stakeholders at every stage of software development. This will require you to commit a substantial amount of your time in ensuring that the project meets your expectations at every phase. Let the software provider know in advance if any of the project stakeholders will be inaccessible.
To get an accurate custom software quote, you need to give your software solutions vendor a detailed sketch of what you want the final product to do for you. Do not worry if you do not have a sketch. A competent software solutions provider should be able to work with you and guide you in coming up with custom software that meets the goals and objectives of your company. It will help greatly if you can break up your project into several stand-alone components that you can develop phase by phase.